The word


There’s definitely something to this choosing-a-word-for-your-year thing. For 2009 I choose visible, and put myself out onto the internet more than i’d ever done before. In 2010 I chose expand, and all areas of my life seemed to get bigger as I moved through the year. Last year’s word was compassion, and while I probably haven’t shown myself as much compassion as I could have, I still find myself on the last day of the year with a bigger heart and better appreciation of the souls that share my world.

My word for 2012 came to me about a month ago, as I surveyed everything I have to do in the new year and began to feel the pressure…


It’s time to find my BRAVE.

Teaching in person scares me. Going on a book tour scares me. Publishing a book that shares my heart scares the crap out of me. I will be doing all of these things in 2012, so it’s time to woman-up, grow some bigger ovaries and be BRAVE. To embrace these opportunities as exactly that — opportunities for growth, expansion and FUN. I’m also going to be getting on a lot of planes during the next 12 months — luckily I love flying — so this really will be my year of outward movement. After so much introspective writing and editing in 2011, I’m being asked to go back out into the world. And as I joked with some friends recently, I’m going to be leaving my comfort zone so many times in 2012 i may as well just move out of it permanently.

And there’s another area of my life that will require a dose of bravery next year. I have danced around the issue of finding love so many times on this blog. So many quiet declarations have been hinted at, that I was ready, that the time was right, that I wanted to find an uncle for Noah ;) And yet here I am, a few weeks away from the 7th anniversary of his death, still single. I mention the anniversary because I still reverently follow the timeline of renewal and rebirth that has been my life since everything changed in 2005, but I’m no longer held hostage to the memory of what we had. Instead, I have blossomed into a self-aware, emotionally-healed, independent woman who takes enormous pleasure in being able to look after herself ROOOOAAAARRRRRR! The creation of my business, and in turn being able to do work that means so freaking much to me, has been so unexpectedly healing on so many levels, and not just the obvious ones.

I don’t begrudge a single second of all this time on my own as it’s been the most amazing adventure. Now I’m ready to have some new adventures with a partner-in-crime.

Let the year of dating and book tours commence!


54 responses
  1. vanessa joie

    beautiful susannah. i hope you have a wonderful new year. xo

  2. Paty

    Dear Sus, congratulations on your new word and on your plans for the year.
    I’m sure that your mom must be really happy and proud after reading each and every word you wrote.
    I hope you have a blessed year in which all of your dreams come true.
    A big hug for you.

  3. Jill

    What a great word! You will be a Brave and Open-Hearted Warrior of Love and Looking/Seeing.

    My word is “retreat.” I am a few years behind you on the path, and I need to sink into my practices (yoga, meditation, writing, and dog), learn to rest, find balance (my particular middle path, middle way), and undergo a transformation (I may be in pupal form for now, but in the end, I will be a butterfly, with wings and the whole sky to explore).

    I am hoping to take your “Blogging from the Heart” class, so am excited about the possibilities unfolding (or unravelling, yeah?) for both of us in 2012.

    P.S. Love the music mix!

  4. Marcela

    I am torn between “exploration” and “integration”. The time has come to explore areas of myself that I left aside for too much time (that have to do with my creative side)and, at the same time, I need to integrate the new me into my old self and into the mother I became, and that is the bridge between both aspects of the woman I am now…

  5. Libby

    I’ve not decided on a word yet. Several different ones have been floating round my brain–brave was one of them!–and this evening will be devoted to journalling, filling in your ‘unravelling’ workbook, and deciding on a word.

  6. Jill Kane

    Love it! You BRAVE one, you :) My word is aperture. I’ll be working on my openness to light, what I see around me, what I allow to sink into my being and what I allow to slip by me. Also working on knowing my cameras better, esp my new dSLR. And I’d love to splurge on an iphone so I can instagram, too. And a new MacBook Pro so I can start having more creative fun in my life. But first, I’m opening myself up to a new career path in 2012 as my current job will end in June. Aperture open, open, open to new, splendid opportunities! Cheers to 2012! xoxo – J

    PS – Are you coming to Minnesota on your book tour? Pleaasssseeeee. . .

    PPS – Depending on when this new job thing falls into place, I’d love to spend time with you at Squam by the Sea in Oct – – making a BIG goal, too ;)

  7. Vanessa

    I love your word, and your intentions for this coming year.
    My word for 2012 is ‘gentle’. I thought about ‘self-compassion’ as it’s something I’ve been trying to develop, but somehow ‘gentle’ works better for me and it feels great already to be relaxing into gentleness.
    Thank you for your (already clearly demonstrated) bravery of showing who you are, which helps so many others, including me, to feel ok to show who we are. Happy new year!

  8. Foxglove Lane

    I am still completing your workbook which I got from Eadaoin at City of Balckbirds blog today. My word was expand which I am interested to see you had before. I too am in recovery from a recent bereavement so it was a real joy to find your blog and explore it. I am energised and inspired and thank you deeply for the many little seeds that have been planted from the reflections I experienced from your questions. Here’s to your dream of love for 2012!

  9. K8et

    Love it! You already are braver than you think <3 my word may be (only a few hours left to change my mind) one that popped in my head to help with holiday stress: Savor. Not sure what 2012 has in store for us, but we started down a path that - if successful - will mean lots of lasts and firsts, and scary and exciting. Savor seems to fit as it helps root me in the present and appreciate each moment for whatever it is. Last, first, 100th or the only time something happens, it should definitely be savored this year!

  10. Nina

    The joke about moving permanently out of your comfort zone made me laugh! Also made me think of a line from Gibran: “Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral”. I think it’s pretty brave to choose ‘brave’ as your word of the year. Have a good one!

  11. stacie

    Just found your beautiful blog through Cindy Kirwan. She will be my featured artist on my blog tomorrow if you would like to hop over and read it.

    I also linked to your great worksheet that you offered for 2012. Looking forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and working on it.

    My word is growth. Looking forward to a wonderful New Year. I hope yours is amazing!

  12. Star

    My word is reconnect. Thank you so much for Unravelling the Year Ahead 2012; it has made planning so much easier and fun!

    Hoping for a year of wish fulfillment ahead for both of us.

  13. my lovely mess

    I’ll take brave as well…new to your blog and I love it! Happy new year…

  14. sonrie

    My word is ‘sure’ – not as in ‘yes, sure, ok;’ as in ‘confident.’

    You will find that man and those adventures will happen!!!

  15. Clare

    Beautiful piece Susannah. Personally, I think it’s very brave to be sharing your word of the year so publically at all. I have one too, but am not quite ready to share it just yet. I bought myself your ‘Photo Meditations’ course as my Christmas present to myself this year so I’m really looking forward to starting very soon. Keep on inspiring, Clare.

  16. Catherine

    My word is “steady”. Unfortunately, the ground here continues to be very unsteady. Not much I can do about that, but I aim to keep myself steady in the middle of the shaking, and to make regular steady progress on my creative goals.

  17. Amelia

    Happy New Year Susannah, and here´s to you finding your ‘brave’ :) And good luck in all your wishes. I´ve yet to find my word. . . . still searching.


  18. rebecca

    Beautiful and strong as always! I am sending you tons of good manly, hot sexy, and soul partner vibes. This is gonna be the year girl, you’ve got half the world rooting for you and the other half lining up as we speak. Just be choosy, that’s all I’m saying. It’s better when it’s right! :)

  19. Skaja

    I love this. :)

    My word for 2012 is Sovereignty. I’ve spent a lot of my life worrying about others and what they think about me, and making my decisions around that. With my word, which is already working in my life, I’m intending to step into my own power and make my life something I want, regardless of what other people think.

    Much love to you in 2012.

  20. Michelle McGrath

    hear hear Susannah – ditto to most of that!! Bring it on! I have really enjoyed your Unravelling PDF and have some very similar goals. This will be a very exciting year of empowerment all round I feel….many of us are stepping more fully into the truth of who we are. Also have set myself many goals of being out of my comfort zone…otherwise what’s the point? I am also really looking forward to your Blogging with Heart course.
    Many new year blessings to to! mxx

  21. Tamisha

    Susannah – you are such a beautiful person. You deserve a companion and the fact that you have that desire means it has been put there. ;-) I love reading your blog and your thoughts. I know 2012 will be an epic year for you, dear! Best…

  22. Rhianne

    It doesn’t feel that long since 2009, but I really do love your words of the year and this year I have one, woo. I’ll leave you a link when I post about it :)

    After reading your blog for so long and taking part in photo meditations, I think you’re one of the bravest people I know, so I think 2012 is going to be amazing for you. Happy new year susannah :)

  23. Laura

    My word is one similar to yours – but totally made up!
    A verb – since verbs call forth action – but one from a terrific adjective: ROBUSTiFY – to live life boldly, full bodied; to enjoy life’s finest brews; to take time to SMELL that coffee and to share it with others too! Best wishes for you in this new year and for your book tour!

  24. Shenee Howard

    Craziness! This is my word too! It came to me as well! I just decided that it was my word and I wanted to live it and breathe it with everything I do this year! :)

  25. Donna

    Brave and strong! I think you’ll do very well on all counts! My guess is that throughout your travels you will find yourself surrounded with warm support, admiration, and gratitude for all that you do! Thank you!
    Susannah, have you seen the recently released DVD Finding Joe, about Joseph Campbell, by Patrick Takaya Solomon? I have a feeling that you’ll find it quite inspirational and helpful in your pursuits.
    My word for 2012 is Possibilities. I am repeating it from last year after having great success with it and feeling like I’d like to spend more time with it!
    Well, here’s to 2012, may it be a fabulous year for all!

  26. Susan

    I love the concept of word for the year! It sounds like you’ve chosen a great one!

  27. Angela Vular

    I hope all your wishes come true for 2012! I’m still working on my word….maybe emerge, bold, or celebrate? I just want to live more fully in the moment and absorb all that life has to offer! I am going to finish your worksheet tonight! I like Laura’s word Robustify that seems to sum it up. Well, the clock is ticking and I want to find my word before midnight!
    Happy New Year!

  28. Nanette Gordon-Cramton

    You are already soo brave, Susannah! I feel proud of you for your declarations. You go girl! My word for 2012 is “Hope.” Happy New Year!!

  29. Roxanne Galpin

    Here’s hoping that all your wishes for 2012 come true.

  30. Danielle

    Happy New Year – wishing you all the best. It sounds like you chose such a fitting word. And I’m excited to read all about it on your blog. My OLW is possibility. I realized & accepted that a major goal for me last year was not right & now I’m back to square one & so excited for all the possibility it brings.

  31. Victoria

    Best wishes for 2012! I’m sure you’ll find your bravery and have a great year. Thanks for the workbook – so helpful for planning next year.

  32. Colette

    My word is gentleness. I commit to being gentle with myself EVERY day in 2012.

  33. Alicia

    Be brave! We all believe in you Susannah!

  34. Nicola

    Hi Susannah. Happy New Year. It sounds like it is going to be an amazing one. I discovered your blog recently and so much of it touched me. I lost my husband two years ago to cancer when our little boy was 11 months old. The last two years have been about just getting through the days and I have suffered from panic attacks and anxiety about life in a way I never have before. But more so than ever I am aware how short life is and I feel that so far I haven’t done enough with mine and so many dreams have fallen by the wayside so as a new year starts I feel I need to take control of my life and make some changes so I can start to really live again. I have therefore signed up to so your course which starts tomorrow and pre-ordered your book from Amazon. Here’s to a new year and a new start. Thanks Suzanne. You are truly an inspiration. xx

  35. michelle gd

    thank you for sharing your word with us. it seems brave will suit you quite well. we’ll all be cheering you on as you experience so much outward movement this year. you will be fab!

    last year was the first year i picked a word for the year and i found it to be helpful and healing and so very interesting. i was happy when 2012’s word came to me; it is inspiration. still rolling it around in my head and trying to journal it out. but i feel sure that’s my word.

    susannah, you are so lovely to share yourself in the ways that you do. love and light to you. happy new year!

  36. Alexis Zinkerman

    Hi, Happy New Year! You will learn bravery and grow strong. I believe you will find everything you are looking for.

  37. Kerstin

    You know my word, it’s the same you had in 2009 – visible! Thank you so much for the inspiration! xo

  38. nicky linzey

    You are amazing Susannah, you will do it! Happy New Year.

  39. Sandra

    Mine is ACTION :)
    I am also on a man hunt – good luck!

  40. Michele

    ” I’m going to be leaving my comfort zone so many times in 2012 i may as well just move out of it permanently” I love this! Sounds like you are going to have a big beautiful year!

  41. Jane LaFazio

    Hi Susannah, very nice to meet you.
    Brave is a very good word indeed!
    My word is preparation. Preparation to step up to be a better teacher. I’m a darn good teacher, but I want to be better. I want to really give all I can to my students. (and hey, good luck with the whole meeting and dating thing. Be open and be brave. But it sounds like you already are)

  42. laurie b

    i wanted to let you know i linked your unraveling the year ahead in my own blog. what a gift. thank you for graciously sharing such an amazing tool.

  43. Laura

    So the first of the has come and gone, what word did you end up choosing? Best to you in 2012!

  44. elizabeth

    love this love this love this and you are living BRAVE right now clearly naming your open heart and readiness for Mr. Photobird– that is BRAVE (I know, because I want to do the same and yet, don’t have quite the courage) what a LIFE you are living— what a LIFE. Everything in its perfect timing is unfolding– there’s no doubt it you had Mr. Photobird in your life these past two years it would have altered the focus and time you had to build your business and do your life work– so I think it’s kind of perfect that just as you are ready to travel the world in support of your books– that you will meet him and he will follow you back to your nest!

    xoxoox, e

  45. Miriam


    Just wanted to let you know that my word for 2011 was brave and it was revolutionary! You can read more about it here

    This year my word is enchantment. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

    Happy New Year!

    This year my word is enchantment

  46. Lisa

    Good luck to your “brave” year and to finding your man! Mine is more like a theme, “letting go”. I have so many things to let go of, things that are holding me back.

  47. Jo Klima

    I forgot to pick one last year! This year my word is FLOURISH, in work – life – health – everything x

  48. Magdalena Macinska

    I was so excited to read that your word for 2012 was “brave”, because I chose the word “courage”!

    Courage to be connected with myself, to express myself, the courage to try out my ideas and go for accomplishing my goals.

    I really enjoyed doing the unravelling 2012 booklet with my best friend as a way to celebrate New Year’s Eve, so thank you Susannah for these inspiring exercises.

    Your plan for 2012 is beautiful and best of luck in heading down that path!

  49. Melissa Jaine

    Susannah, I’m so excited to watch YOU unravel this wonderful life for yourself. Well done you! :)
    And thank you for the end of year workbook ~ I *loved* it, and posted a link on my blog to your post about it.
    My word is “become”. Because it’s about time I did!

  50. Shannon Bednowicz

    Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts, and your beautiful, moving, thought provoking planner. I am LOVING it! Won’t have the time to dedicate to it until Friday night, but as my birthday is next week, I can “count” that as my official beginning to 2012.
    This 1 word thing is taking some serious work to come up with!

  51. kathryn

    because of your worksheet, i came to the word peace…a feeling of pure contentment and a sense of well being!! first word ever that’s resonated with me completely!!

  52. Christianne

    Oh my goodness … when my eye alighted upon the photo with your word of the year “BRAVE” on it, the hugest smile erupted on my face. I just loved this word for you. Of all you’ve shared about your fears of putting yourself out there in some very new and public ways this coming year, I just love that you settled on this one word to carry you through it and give you perspective on it.

    Much love to you, Susannah. I simply cannot wait to cuddle up on my couch with a blanket and mug of tea or coffee to read your book and know more of your heart and story. xo

  53. Kathryn

    inspirational. :)
    …I will admit, being a pixar fan-girl, when I was reading this I thought of their upcoming movie….

  54. Stephinie

    What a lovely post….. I love the idea of picking a word for the year. Your comments on bravery reminded me of a favorite TED talk where vulnerability & courage are discussed…. it’s an oldie but a goodie if you’ve never seen it : ~ ~ ~ Happy, happy New Year!!

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